In The Editor Muses

Is there a rockhounder in your family? You’ve learned to check all pockets for rocks before doing the laundry. As they get older the rocks get larger. Can you point to each rock in your garden and tell me where it was found?

In California, rockhounding is a common hobby. “All across California, amateur geologists are scouring for ancient rocks, valuable minerals and world-famous gems. Thanks to its incredible geologic diversity, the Golden State is one of the best places in the world to rockhound.”

Before you begin, keep these guidelines in mind:

“The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service own many rock collecting sites. The BLM has regulations for casual rock collecting, and you can check the forest service website to find their rockhounding rules for different areas. You should also make sure you’re not rockhounding on private property. Check with your local BLM office to get updated maps and land ownership information.”

  • “Watch out for wildlife, obey posted signs and don’t enter abandoned mines (they’re dangerous!).
  • Know the rock you’re after, the tools you’ll need, the area you’ll be entering and weather you may encounter.
  • Follow leave no trace principles and don’t be greedy with your rock collecting; take only what you love and leave the rest.”
  • Know the regulations if a ranger wants to talk to you: “4307. Geological Features. No person shall destroy, disturb, mutilate, or remove earth, sand, gravel, oil, minerals, rocks, paleontological features, or features of caves except rockhounding may be permitted as defined and delineated in Sections 4610 through 4610.10.”

Local rock, mineral and gem resources:
Rock and Mineral Shows

Santa Cruz Mineral and Gem Society

Santa Cruz Mineral and Gem Society on Facebook

Image: This rock was recently found on one of our beaches.

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